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Second time lucky for Region 1 Kubrick DVDs?

After months (if not years) of speculation, Warner Home Video have finally released some official details of the remastered Stanley Kubrick collection.

Originally released in 1999 in a seven-DVD box set containing all his films from Lolita to Full Metal Jacket, these discs were justifiably slammed for often unacceptably poor transfer quality and minimal extras. Given Kubrick's then very recent death, it looked like a cheap cash-in, and drew justifiable flak from fans and critics alike.

Those hoping that the new DVDs will contain tons of extras are likely to be disappointed, as nearly all the discs look like straight repeats of their predecessors in terms of content (before you start composing hate mail to Warner, we should note that Kubrick was never especially keen on extras), but Warner do promise that every title has been remastered, and many of the discs will be anamorphic (though this is sparking fresh controversy, as it seems that some titles are being reframed to 16:9 from their original Kubrick-preferred 4:3 - more details on specific discs will be supplied when available).

On the sound front, Dolby Digital 5.1 remixes will be featured - Warner haven't yet confirmed whether the original mono tracks will also be included, though the fact that this is the case with the Region 2 A Clockwork Orange release suggests that they may well be.

The most worrying news is that it looks as though the only difference between the old 2001: A Space Odyssey and the new version is that it's anamorphic and transferred from the restored 70mm version with a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Obviously, we're not going to complain about that - but rather less encouraging is that the only extra appears to be "a rare interview with Arthur C Clarke", which may well be a repeat of the press conference footage that's already been released. However, Warner have made a separate announcement regarding a special edition of the film towards the end of the year, so it's probably worth waiting until concrete details are available before splashing out.

The major new announcement is an additional DVD, Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, a 140-minute documentary narrated by Tom Cruise and created by four former Kubrick collaborators. This is having its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival next week, and will be available as part of the new box set - there's no word on whether it will be released separately. The other titles in the box set will be Lolita, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut, all of which will be available separately as well.

Michael Brooke

Last updated: 19/04/2018 19:30:04

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